Healthcare reform has been a major news for the last several years. Legislation is working its way through the congressional system and previously enacted legislation is coming into effect. Part of the current administration’s agenda as it relates to healthcare is considered controversial, depending on who is talking about it, but like most conversation topics in our world today, it all boils down to one thing: money.
The subject of money in healthcare yields immediate concerns about equality. A couple of centuries ago, everyone who got sick, regardless of social class, had access to roughly the same level of healthcare – bed rest and maybe some herbs. More money got you access to more renowned doctors and a higher visibility of care, but the health benefit differential was insignificant – it is not like there was an overwhelming demand for anesthesia-free amputations!
Now, however, in the twenty-first century, there have been major advances in technology and medicine. There is a big difference in outcomes between doing nothing (nineteenth century treatments) and being treated at a modern facility. Consider appendicitis – a burst appendix had a high mortality rate with no treatment, but modern medicine makes removing an appendix an almost routine procedure and gives a patient an opportunity to survive even if it isn’t removed in time. There is just one catch: this routine procedure costs money.